Let´s talk about the F word-no, not that one, this blog is for all audiences! The other one- Fear. I´m not talking about the intuitive hit that tells you to avoid a place or a situation that may potentially cause you harm, I am talking about the fear that grips us and prevents us from speaking our truth, dampens our inspiration and paralyses us from moving forward. The Fear, which keeps us playing small.
One of the things that I had hoped to acquire when I decided to train as a life coach was the ability to live life fearlessly, I expected to be able to wake up every day and conquer the world without a second thought, and by doing so inspire others to do the same. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. What I discovered was that this is an unrealistic, unattainable ideal, a fantasy that we are sold by the media and the self-help industry to pursue endlessly while we beat ourselves up for never being able to reach it. But I did learn something, something far more valuable; I learnt how to live courageously, in spite of fear.
Our Internal GPS System
Our emotions are our navigation system, a kind of compass for the soul, neither good nor bad, not positive or negative, just messengers telling us when we are on the right track or veering slightly off it. Fear is an emotion that was originally meant to keep us safe, and for a long time it served us well but as we have evolved we haven´t learned how to adjust or internal GPS to the new landscape in which we find ourselves.
Our instinct as humans is to avoid fear, move away from it, do something to change it. In order to live courageously, we need to re-define our relationship with fear. So instead of avoiding it, we can choose to lean into it, become intimate with it and thank it for letting us know that we are about to do something big, something important that will move us closer to our dreams and allow us to live a big life.
Fear often shows up when we are about to do something new or daring, anything that pushes us out of our comfort zone, tests our limits or challenges our beliefs, particularly the ones that no longer serve us. What would it be like if we made friends with our fear and invited it to come sit with us instead of trying to escape it? What is waiting for you on the other side?
When it comes to fear we always have a choice, we can allow it to paralyze us or we can use it propel us forward. Turn around and face it and you will soon discover that it is only thoughts, thoughts we have about the future or thoughts we have about how other people perceive us, neither of which we have any control over, a liberating realization-if you have no control over it, let it go. Look instead towards the things that are within your control, decide what you want to do about them and take action.
But what if I fail?
What if you do fail? This is a fear that stops many of us from even trying, but failure is part of life, it´s part of expansion and it´s part of growth. Ask any successful person if they have ever failed and you will be met with a resounding Yes! What can you do about it? When you fail, choose to fail fabulously; learn from it, use it as an opportunity to grow, to do things better next time, to see where and how you can improve. Sure failure can sting but not as much as reaching the end of your life with your song still in you because you were afraid to try. Yes, you might fail but you might just fly.
Once you face your fear and do the thing that frightens you the feelings associated with fear begin to diminish and keep on fading until they finally disappear. Why then, you might wonder, can we never live a life without fear? Because once we have tackled what scares us it allows us to move onto the next challenge, the next adventure, we expand and face the next fear and on it goes in this beautiful journey called life.
Fear is excitement without the breath! Think about that one for a minute. Have you noticed how similar are those two feelings are? And how when we’re scared we tend to hold our breath or take shallow breaths? What if we breath into that constricted space to allow it to open-up and deliver its message? What wisdom would it hold? What would it guide us towards? What is the excitement is hiding in there a few breaths away?
Are you ready to live courageously? Go out this week and do one thing that scares you, you will be surprised by what you discover.